IP invests in fire-protection lab

International Paints, the largest private-sector employer in Gateshead, is to invest £6.4m (€7.1m) to build a testing laboratory for fire-protection products at its Felling site.

The facility will create 14 jobs and secure a further 30 at the site. It is due to be completed in early 2011.

International Paints is a supplier of fire-protection coatings used to protect steel structures such as buildings and oil and gas installations.

The market for its products is growing rapidly due to increasingly stringent fire-protection regulations worldwide and forecasters expect demand to double by 2018.

The project also received a grant of £249,000 from regional-development agency One North East.

International Paints employs 5,700 people worldwide, including more than 900 at its Felling site. The company is part of Akzonobel, the world’s largest paints and coatings company and producer of the Dulux brand.